West Springfield High School Welcomes New Principal

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Photo courtesy of Mr. Danby

Mr. Danby, the new principal at WSHS.

Lauren Cincotta, Editor in Chief

This year, in addition to adapting to the ongoing pandemic, West Springfield High School is welcoming a new principal. Mr. Patrick Danby comes to West Springfield from Southbridge High School where he previously served as principal. Mr. Danby grew up in Wallingford, Connecticut before his family moved to Chesire, Massachusetts. 

After graduating from Chesire High School, Mr. Danby attended Western New England University and earned a B.S in Mathematics. He earned his MBA from Kaplan University and attended Springfield College where he earned additional credits in education. Starting his career off as a math teacher at Central High School, Mr. Danby eventually became an administrator at Southbridge. Being an administrator has given him the opportunity to positively shape a student’s high school experience and see how students grow as individuals during their high school years. “It is rewarding to see students grow from 9th grade to 12th grade and leave prepared for their next steps in life,” Danby said.  He values having interactions with students during activities such as drama or athletics as well as in the classroom, because these activities help positively shape the broader high school experience. 

His work as a principal in Southbridge showed how seriously he takes his responsibility to the students and staff members in his school, and his role in shaping a positive experience.  When the selection committee began interviewing candidates to replace former principal Dr. Vito Perrone, Mr. Danby quickly stood out. His commitment to that position and his students was important to selection committee member Mrs. Svec. “I was super happy to hear Mr. Danby stayed extra long with his old job because he didn’t want to leave a job undone.” She also noted how supportive he was to staff during professional development. “You can tell he cares about people, kids and adults alike. I’m glad we found him.” 

After initially hearing about the opening in West Springfield from a former colleague, Mr. Danby began the process of interviewing for the job. “Through the interview process it became clear that this was a great community, and I knew I wanted to be part of it,” he said. 

“In my short time at West Side I have noticed that this school district is collaborative, supportive, caring, and has a can do attitude. The slogan ‘We got this’ says it all as we navigate one of the most challenging times in the history of education.”

— Mr. Danby

Starting his new role during this pandemic has presented many challenges.  Not being able to interact in person with staff and students, one of his favorite parts of being an administrator, makes the job a bit harder. “I am in my office a lot more than when students are in the building because being in a classroom during remote learning means being at my computer,” Danby added. However, seeing students connect in the virtual classroom during remote learning is a highlight of his job. “I am pleasantly surprised every time I enter a class to be greeted by students with smiles and then to observe the hard work and dedication to their education,” he continued. His first interaction with students was visiting student athletes practicing at the start of the school year. “From my interactions with the student athletes I could tell that the students here are happy, polite, and driven towards success.” 

Like all members of the West Side community, Mr. Danby is eager for things to return to normal. However, in this time of remote learning, he has had the opportunity to see West Springfield come together to make the best of things. He is especially impressed by the staff at WSHS. “They were gracious, welcoming, and thoughtful from our first meeting,” he said. 

As he works with students and staff to navigate remote learning, Superintendent Connor’s “We got this” slogan is especially meaningful to him.  “In my short time at West Side I have noticed that this school district is collaborative, supportive, caring, and has a can do attitude. The slogan ‘We got this’ says it all as we navigate one of the most challenging times in the history of education.”